- The Washington Times - Friday, May 13, 2005

One of the Washington Nationals’ regular middle infielders was back on the field last night against the Chicago Cubs at RFK Stadium, but the other could be out another three weeks.

Shortstop Cristian Guzman returned from his injured left hamstring, but three-time All-Star second baseman Jose Vidro likely will not be back until June after undergoing a second MRI on his injured left ankle yesterday.

Vidro, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday, was examined in Cincinnati by Dr. Tim Kremchek, the Nationals’ senior medical consultant. The diagnosis was a partial tear of the peroneal tendon outside the ankle. Vidro will wear a walking boot for the next seven to 10 days.

Vidro was injured while sliding home May 4. In 28 games, the switch hitter was batting .290 and tied with Nick Johnson for second on the club with four home runs.

Guzman, who injured his hamstring on a ground ball Monday night, had been expected to be in the lineup in the first of a three-game series against the Cubs but was held out as a precaution. He entered the game at shortstop in the seventh inning.

Veteran utility man Henry Mateo made his Nationals debut at second base, and Jamey Carroll started at shortstop.

Nationals manager Frank Robinson is ?giving me one more day; he’s the manager ? he can do whatever he wants to do,? Guzman said of not starting. ?[There is] no pain. Whenever he needs me, I’ll be there.?

The switch-hitting Mateo was placed on the 15-day DL midway through spring training with right shoulder tendinitis resulting from surgery Sept. 23 to repair a torn labrum. Mateo, who can play up to six positions, said he still has occasional pain when batting right-handed.

?I’m not really 100 percent with my arm or whatever, but I just want a chance to get into a game,? said Mateo, who hit .278 with two RBI and a stolen base on a rehab assignment at Class AAA New Orleans.

In his first plate appearance last night, Mateo failed to make contact on a suicide squeeze, causing first baseman Nick Johnson to be caught in a rundown. Before the failed bunt, the Nationals had a 1-0 second-inning lead and runners on the corners.

Mateo went 0-for-1 with a walk before Carlos Baerga pinch-hit for him in the sixth.

They are the World

The Nationals could be well-represented at March’s inaugural World Baseball Classic. The team showcased 22 players from seven different countries in spring training.

Vinny Castilla, the Mexican-born third baseman, said he definitely would play for his home country in the recently announced 16-team tournament.

?Oh yeah, it’s my job,? Castilla said. ?The World Cup comes every four years in soccer, and now it’s the first time baseball is going to do that, and that means it’s going to be great for baseball. It’s going to be great for all the nationalities, and there will be more suspense to the games and bring the game to the world. You go to Europe, there’s not too many people that know baseball.?

Extra bases

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, Nationals president Tony Tavares, Nationals outfielder Jose Guillen and D.C. Sports & Entertainment Commission chairman Mark Tuohey will dedicate a baseball field Tuesday at the Fort Greble Recreation Center in Southwest. The field will serve as home of the Ballou High School baseball program. …

Negro League legend Ted ?Double Duty? Radcliffe threw out last night’s ceremonial first pitch. The 102-year-old Radcliffe, the oldest living Negro League player, dropped the ball into Nationals first-base coach Don Buford’s glove from a motorized golf cart behind home plate. Radcliffe played for the District’s Homestead Grays.

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